Type 2 Diabetes Guide

Diabetic Test Kits: Choosing a Self-Test Kit

An important part of an overall plan includes monitoring your blood glucose levels. allow you to self-test or monitor your blood sugar at home.

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Knowing your blood sugar levels helps people with to ensure that their treatment plan is appropriate for controlling the disease. Exercise levels, diet plans, insulin dosages, and medication can all be adjusted (after a consultation with a doctor) if self-testing reveals that blood glucose levels are consistently outside of normal range.

Diabetic test kits should consist of:

1. Blood Pressure Monitor

Diabetics are more prone to high blood pressure, which in turn can put you at higher risk for additional . Diabetics should strive to keep their blood pressure under control. Many varieties of automated blood pressure monitors are available, and are easy to use. A cuff is placed around your upper arm in order to read your blood pressure.

When choosing a blood pressure monitor you will need to consider the fit. The cuff must be large enough to fit properly over your upper arm (the literature that comes with the monitor should providing instructions on determining whether the cuff is the right size for you). Using a cuff that is too small will result in false readings. A standard cuff is included with home blood pressure monitors, but check the documentation to see if the company offers an option to purchase a larger cuff, if need be.

2. Blood Glucose Monitor (Glucometer) and Glucose Test Strips

You apply a blood sample to the test strip, and the glucose meter determines how much sugar is in your blood. Pricking the fingertip with an automatic lancing device is the most common way to get a blood sample for the glucose monitor.


Accuracy of the test kit is extremely important. Inaccurate readings -- or inconsistent readings -- will not give you a good idea of your real blood sugar levels. This can lead to poor control of your diabetes. Blood glucose monitors are accurate if used correctly, however, they do need to be checked periodically to verify their accuracy. Follow the manufacturer's testing instructions. A control solution for this purpose may be provided with your monitor, or you may be able to purchase them at a pharmacy or from the manufacturer of the glucometer.



Maintenance is another factor when choosing a diabetes test kit. Some monitors will require more cleaning or care than others, and may provide inaccurate readings if dirty.

Easy of Use

How easy is the monitor to use? Many brands of glucose monitors are available. Some will require more blood than others to get a reading; and some monitors can provide you with a reading in fewer steps. Also, consider the "test site" -- some monitors can take a blood sample from an area other than a fingertip, such as your forearm or your thigh. This can be less painful than taking a sample from the fingertip.


Another consideration is cost. Check with your to see the cost of any of the above items will be covered. More than likely, they won't cover the cost of the blood pressure monitor, but they may cover the glucometer and test strips. Depending on how often you need to test your blood sugar, the test strips can get expensive. Ask your insurance provider if there are limits to how many test strips they will cover.

Extra Features

And finally, what extra features does the monitor have? For example, some glucose meters will "talk" to you - that is, they verbally tell you your reading. Other glucose monitors have a storage feature where they will keep a record of your readings (even so, be sure to record these yourself in a separate log book, just in case).

A urine test kit may also be recommended by your doctor to check for the presence of ketones.

Always follow the directions for each device. The accuracy and reliability of diabetic test kits depend on proper usage. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider for assistance.



The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience, and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual situation should be directed to your doctor.